GERMANTOWN, Tenn. — Germantown city leaders said the employee responsible for spilling diesel fuel that caused the water crisis was fired while addressing the public’s concerns Thursday.
They also said the amount of diesel spilled was close to three times more than previously reported.
Officials said a city employee was filling the generator and spilled closer to 250 but no more than 300 gallons of diesel fuel on the ground. Initial estimates were approximately 100 gallons.
It’s been two weeks since city leaders advised the public the water was not safe to use after a diesel spill at the Southern Avenue water treatment plant.
A panel of nine city leaders and experts explained what led to the water crisis on July 20, causing city leaders to issue a city-wide water advisory for all uses except flushing the toilet.
Many residents who were not able to drink, bathe in, or do dishes with the water for more than a week say they were disappointed in the city’s handling of the emergency.
“I thought it was very eye-opening and very concerning at the same time,” said resident Jonathan Ferebe.
The fuel then seeped into the soil and found its way to an underground pipe that had a hole in it, and ultimately ran into the underground reservoir.
The employee blamed for the spill has since been fired but some residents complain the problem still exists.
“My water smells like diesel, and you guys are saying this thing is over in an interview. It’s not! I can’t use my water,” said one resident.
But who’s going to pay for the thousands of gallons flushed? That’s another question that continued to come up.
“Unacceptable, I’m paying to finance Germantown’s mistake. I don’t care if it was an employee,” said another resident.
The city says they plan to continue to excavate the soil near the overflowed generator and move the generator further away from the reservoir. People say the problem goes beyond that.
In the most recent round of testing, all samples came back clear except for one area. Due to the contaminated area, residents questioned the safety of the water for the rest of the city.
City leaders say they also plan to continue monitoring, sampling, and testing the water for quite a while.
A representative from the non-profit Protect Our Aquifer suggested testing samples directly from people’s faucets, which gained applause from the audience.